UC Berkeley erupts in protests over Milo Yiannopoulos speech

Protests erupted on the University of California, Berkeley, campus Wednesday night, over a scheduled appearance by conservative provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart editor who many identify with the alt-right, a white-nationalist ideology, was set to appear as part of a book tour.

The event was canceled after demonstrators threw smoke bombs and flares at building, the Associated Press and local media reported. Yiannopoulos posted to his Facebook page shortly after:

“I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building,” the post read in part.

Yiannopoulos accused the demonstrators of trying to squash free speech. UC Berkeley, notably, is considered the home of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

Here’s a look from the scene:

Some critics have noted that Yiannopoulos who is known for expressing right-leaning, politically incorrect views appearance was going to give his presentation inside UC Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union, on the first day of Black History Month.

UC Berkeley issued this statement on the protests:

“Amid violence, destruction of property and out of concern for public safety, the University of California Police Department determined that it was necessary to remove Milo Yiannopoulos from the campus and to cancel tonight’s scheduled 8 p.m. performance.

The decision was made at about 6 p.m., two hours before the event, and officers read several dispersal announcements to the crowd of more than 1,500 protesters that had gathered outside of the Martin Luther King, Jr. ASUC venue.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behaviour that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.”

ABC7: Video shows fireworks being set off at UC Berkeley amid protest over #MiloYiannopoulospic.twitter.com/CvpEZhtIUm
— Dylan Flores (@SenBAnalyst) February 2, 2017

Speaker @ucberkeley asks if this crowd of ~1000+ is going to leave. Met with a resounding “No!!!!” #miloatcal #berkeley #berkeleyprotest pic.twitter.com/faZDBhMhma
— Gillian Edevane (@GillianNBC) February 2, 2017

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